If any of you have seen the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, you may, like I do, get a kick out of his segment “Midnight Confessions”. Here’s a link to show you!
As a former Catholic, I can relate to that kind of residual guilt. Now as an Episcopal priest, I think and teach about sin in a very different way. And with Lent just on the horizon, we’ll have the fun of discussing this topic more often! Its good to know that our Lenten Series beginning in March, will be on Embracing Forgiveness. (Here’s the book by Rev. Marjorie Thompson if you would like to order it.
Thompson suggests that there are two emotional barriers that keep us from forgiving: feeling that we are not ready yet, or feeling that we just don’t want to! As humans, its all too common that we refuse to let go of the satisfaction of resentment, and allowable when we’re sometimes still too injured or traumatized to think about forgiveness yet.
There’s also a third reason: we can’t forgive others until we’ve forgiven ourselves. Isaiah expresses his feelings of unworthiness. And Simon Peter, face to face with Jesus’ abundant Grace, responds by saying, “I’m not worth it!”. And what does Jesus tell Peter? What Jesus so often tells us — “do not be afraid.”
The burden of our fears keeps us from answering God’s call; keeps us from saying, “here am I! Send me!” When the Apostles leave behind “everything” and follow Jesus, perhaps they let go of more than their possessions. Can it be that they leave behind their feelings of guilt, of smallness, of scarcity?
On Sunday mornings, when it is my great honor to absolve sins, it is like with any Sacrament: an outward sign of an inward Grace. I’m there to remind us that God has put away our sins. So that we can be free to love and forgive others, to forgive ourselves, and to follow God’s call. The joy in our freedom makes us good fishers of people!
So today, as you read and pray in your pj’s, by yourself or with your family, remember: you are forgiven, you are free, you are loved.
Rejoice in the amazing Grace that Christ offers to us all!
And pass it on!